The recent release of the McClelland task force report on marijuana legalization in Canada has raised some serious concerns for public safety; in particular drug impaired driving . Drug-impaired driving is a major concern as the legalization of the substance becomes a reality in our country and, moving forward, there is a lot to be done to ensure the safety of drivers on the road In November, a CAA poll found 63 per cent of Canadians worry that road safety will decline when marijuana is legalized.
Public Education Needed for Drug Impaired Driving
Currently, Ontario drivers impaired by drug use face fines of up to $180 and a licence suspension for the first occurrence. These new laws were implemented in October to give police more leverage to get impaired drivers off the roads immediately. This is a sound start and sends a strong message, but, to ensure the safety of Ontario drivers, there needs to be a drastic increase public education and improvement in the available tools that police have to detect impairment.
Marijuana is not easy to detect using a simple breathalyzer test. To detect THC, urine tests, which are often unreliable, or invasive blood tests remain the only available tools. To complicate the issue, Canada has not established a legal limit of THC content in drivers.
Last year, police in Canada charged only 1,575 people with drug-impaired driving, compared to 50,853 for suspected drinking and driving. *(statistics Canada)
According to a study conducted by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, marijuana impairs the cognitive and motor abilities necessary to operate a motor vehicle and doubles the risk of crash involvement, placing everyone else on the road at risk of serious injury or death.
If you have been injured by a drug-impaired driver, your claim for compensation may include:
* Non-Earner Benefits
* Caregiver Benefits
* Housekeeping and Home Maintenance Benefits
* Attendant Care Benefits
* Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits
Drinking and driving don’t mix. Drugs and driving don’t mix. PERIOD.
Personal Injury Lawyer Ottawa David Hollingsworth….It seems like yesterday, but 11 years ago I sat at the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus with our first-born and prepared to drive him home. I was almost as nervous for this drive home as I was the delivery. Like any first time parent , I kept thinking …Is this seat safely installed? Did I do it right? I read up online and even called a friend who was a fire fighter to walk me through it…Then, as time went on, a second and third child came and we were constantly juggling various car seats, booster seats, rear-facing this, forward-facing that, watching their weight and wondering when it was time to move onto the next…If any of this sounds familiar or if you are about to enter these years, I would like to share with you what I know when it comes to car seats…
When an infant is in a rear-facing car seat it’s important that the top of the shoulder straps are below or at the baby’s shoulders. It’s important that the straps are in the proper place as to properly secure the infant.
The “bucket seat”:
In almost every case, an infant is safest in a rear-facing car seat. It’s best to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. There are even some rear facing car seats that allow a child to be rear facing up to 45 pounds. Consider this when purchasing your car seat. It is significantly safer to keep children in rear-facing car seats.
It’s important to make sure the harness of any child car seat, especially infant car seats is properly secured. Once your infant is secure in their car seat, test to make sure it is tight enough to your child’s shoulders. You should only be able to fit one finger between the car seat harness and your child’s collarbone. If there is more room, your harness straps are too loose and need to be tightened.
Where the buckle should be positioned:
The buckle that clips over the infants chest should be between the nipples and your infant’s armpits. It’s important that this buckle is not too high or low. If the buckle is out of place, your infant could in fact fly out of the car seat on impact.
Changes in weight and height:
It’s important to keep an eye on your child’s weight and height when it comes to having them in the proper car seat. As soon as they have reached a weight or height limit, it’s imperative you move them to the next level of child car seat. For rear-facing car seats, this means when there is less than an inch of the hard shell left at the top of the seat above your child’s head. As for weight limitations in children’s car seats, they do vary a bit and I would advise you to check with the manufacturer model to be certain and follow these guidelines to a tee.
Remove thick outer wear:
You would be surprised by how much space an infant or child coat takes up. It’s always safest to remove your child’s coat before strapping them in. This allows for the straps to be as secure as possible , avoiding any gaps that may potentially arise from outer wear.
If you are not feeling confident and still have some doubts about whether or not you are using the right car seat , it’s best you seek answers. There are many, many valuable resources such as Transport Canada
Parachute Canada http://www.parachutecanada.org/injury-topics/topic/C2
or call 1-866-SEAT-CHECK
A little bit or research and a little bit of time could save your child’s life. Drive safely and hug your loved ones.
Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth. In Canada, all car seat manufacturers provide an expiry date on all car seats. Why? For safety !
There are also reasons such as…
- sunlight: yes, sun exposure can damage or weaken the plastic found in car seats; and
- safety regulations and standards change over time and products improve over time.
The provincial and territorial laws state that children’s car seats and booster seats must be certified to Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and must be used properly according to the instructions given by the manufacturer. If you don’t follow the instructions or if you use them past their expiry or useful life dates, there is exposure to putting a child at risk and you may be found guilty of breaking the law.
You may be tempted to buy a car seat second hand. Our Ottawa injury lawyers do not recommend you buy a used car seat unless you can get a guarantee that it hasn’t been in an accident (which could be impossible), has not been recalled (check with the manufacturer or Transport Canada – 1-800-333-0371) and that it isn’t expired; Transport Canada also provides a list of manufacturers of car seats and booster seats sold in Canada which includes the expiry/life date.
The following are the weight guidelines for child car seats in Ontario:
Infants: Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states that children must rear-facing car seats until the child weighs at least 9 kg (20 lb.). It’s important to note that this is a minimum requirement. Some rear-facing car seats are made for children that weigh up to 20 kg (45 lb.).
Toddlers: Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states that children use a forward-facing child car seat once they weight from 9 kg to 18 kg (20 to 40 lb.). Again, this is a minimum requirement. Some forward-facing car seats are made for children that weigh up to 30 kg (65 lb.).
Pre-School and up to 8 years old: Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states that children use a booster seat once they weigh 18 kg to 36 kg (40-80 lb.), are less than 145 cm (4 feet 9 inches) tall, and are under the age of 8. Again, this is a minimum requirement.
Youth: Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states that children can use a seat belt when one of the following conditions is met:
- Child turns 8 years old, or
- Child weighs 36 kg (80 lb.), or
- Child is 145 cm (4´ 9˝) tall or more
It’s important that the shoulder strap is positioned across a youth’s shoulder and in the middle of the chest and the lap belt crosses the hips and not the stomach.
Child car seat requirements are the law and more importantly are there for safety. If you are unsure of what car seat your child should be in or if your car seat is installed correctly, there are a number of resources in the Ottawa area to help you such as Service Ontario at 1(800) 268-4686. Please make sure your child is safe.
-We understand, we care and we’re here to help: Ottawa personal injury lawyers since 1999.
The role of an Ottawa Injury Lawyer and ODSP claims
We had a question come in this week and it’s one we get regularly so I figured I would answer it here on the blog for others to see.
The question was about ODSP and does one need a lawyer to make a claim. The answer is no. ODSP is the Ontario Disability Support Program and is a social assistance program that helps with income support and is based on your financial situation and your disability status. ODSP provides income support and helps people with disabilities who are in financial need pay for living expenses, like food, housing and finding a job. ODSP also offers employment support which helps people with disabilities who can and want to work prepare and find a job.
If you qualify to receive income support, the amount you receive varies on
- the size of your family
- your income
- what assets you may have
- housing costs.
Other benefits available are:
Should you qualify for Income Support, your family may also qualify for benefits, such as:
- drug and dental coverage
- eye care
- hearing aids
- diabetic supplies
- transportation costs to appointments
- wheelchair/mobility devices repairs and batteries
- guide dog support
- work-related expenses.
Many people believe that they need a lawyer to apply for ODSP and that is untrue. If you have been in an accident and have a personal injury lawyer then absolutely they can help you make this claim. However the ODSP process is very straightforward you can apply for yourself. If your ODSP claim is denied and you want to appeal it , then you may want to consult with a lawyer to get the best advise possible. There are also legal aid clinics throughout Ottawa and eastern Ontario that can help with ODSP claims. When in doubt , it never hurts to consult.
Here in Ottawa, the ODSP office is located at:
Ministry of Community and Social Services
Ontario Disability Support Program-Income Support and Employment Supports
351 Preston Street , 2nd floor
(613) 234-1188 or toll free: 1-800-267-5111 or TTY: (613) 787-3959 or Fax: (613) 783-5958
Accidents at Schools
I am once again asking all drivers to think about their driving and the decisions they make behind the wheel each day. I am thrilled to share with you that the Ottawa Police are focusing on school bus and school zone safety this month in the Ottawa area. Over the last few years, 9 people suffered personal injury in 41 schools zone accidents. These accidents were avoidable.
Another area of focus this month for Ottawa drivers will be to reduce the number of drivers making unsafe lane changes. There have been over 5500 Ottawa accidents in the last few years that were caused by unsafe lane changes. These Ottawa accidents resulted in 4 deaths and over 600 people suffering personal injuries. Again, these are accidents that can be avoided ! Ottawa police are working hard at lowering accidents in Ottawa with the end goal of preventing or eliminating deaths and serious personal injuries. As an Ottawa community, we all have our part in reducing the number of Ottawa accidents each year, especially school accidents. Let’s all work together.
Our Ottawa personal injury lawyers have helped many people work through their options following an accident on school property or on a school bus. Sadly, accidents at schools happen regularly and children suffer serious injuries. You owe it to yourself and especially your child to meet with one of our personal injury lawyers experienced in child injury. We can sit down and walk you through your options free of charge so that you can make an informed decision on how best to proceed with a child injury on school property. Our personal injury lawyers can also help you meet with some of the top medical professionals in the Ottawa area when it comes to child injuries. Let us get your child maximum compensation and let yourself focus on your child.
Ottawa Insurance Claims Lawyers David Hollingsworth
Is everyone entitled to an insurance claim?
Yes, any person injured in an automobile accident in Ontario can make an insurance claim. This includes claim their relatives and/or dependents.
Are there any restrictions on making an insurance claim in Ontario?
There are some limitations to their insurance claim if one has broken the law during the accident in Ontario. If this is the case, they cannot receive income replacement benefits, visitors expenses, non-earner benefits, lost education expenses, expenses of visitors and the housekeeping and home maintenance benefits.
What happens if the injured does not have insurance ?
The person injured may claim these benefits from their own insurance company. If they do not have an insurance company, they can claim it at the driver at-fault’s insurance company. If none of the persons involved have insurance, the claim can be made through the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund.
Who can help me with my insurance claim?
Regardless if you have been at fault or not or have insurance or not, we can help you. There are options. We understand the stress you are going through and can help. Our Ottawa personal injury lawyers have been helping people with their insurance claims since 1999.
Contact one of our Ottawa lawyers for a free consultation and help with your Ontario accident benefits insurance claim.
Child Head Injury
Please practice what you preach. Helmets might not always be the “coolest” or “most comfortable” option but they are absolutely the smartest option. I’m so pleased with this initiative. The Ottawa Public Health and CHEO have joined forces to promote the use of helmets during winter activities. Ottawa’s neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Vassilyadi attended the family day event at Ottawa’s city hall family day skating party to talk to parents to lead by example and wear their helmets !
Dr. Vassilyadi talked about how parents need to lead by example and how they are ambassadors and that kids look up to their parents and copy what they do. I couldn’t agree more. We need to practice what we preach.
Dr. Vassilyadi also spoke about how more families are taking the necessary precautions and wearing helmets for winter activities, such as skating and tobogganing. Dr. Vassilyadi also stated that there has been a decline in preventable head injuries in the Ottawa area, stating that there hadn’t been one surgical head injury until mid-January this season.
While one is too many at least we are moving in the right direction. I hope these messages reach others and before we know it wearing a helmet for winter activities will be an automatic response for everyone. Lead by example and put your helmet on ! If not for you, do it for your children. Kids watch their parents all the time and want to be the same. This is an easy way to install smart, safe decisions with your children. The ideal would be that we all get to a point where we don’t even think about it and we wear our helmets anytime we are participating in an activity that has a higher risk for head injuries.
Do your part in avoiding head injuries .
Ottawa Accident Lawyer
.I was up bright and early this morning taking our kids to hockey. I knew it had rained last night but I had no idea when I hit Ottawa streets how slippery they were. As I pulled into the arena parking lot, my vehicle slid sideways down a hill. Thankfully it was 6:30 am (yawn) and the lot was empty. I was driving very slowly and paying close attention to the road conditions, yet at that very moment, there was nothing else I could have done. I was sliding on ice . Be careful out there on Ottawa roads. It is extremely slippery out there today. The Ottawa Police Service have provided excellent safety tips to drivers who encounter freezing rain.
-Clear all ice and snow off your vehicle to avoid any ice and snow dislodging and flying onto other vehicles.
-Allow yourself distance between vehicles. Especially when the roads are icy, you need enough distance to stop. Also it allows time to react if ice and snow is flying off other vehicles.
-Be aware that other vehicles may loose snow and ice on them. Often times, transport trucks have ice and snow on the roof of their trailers.
-Always slow down when the roads are icy.
-Allow yourself more time to arrive safely to your destination.
-Ensure your vehicle is ready for winter. Ensure you have winter tires, proper windshield wipers.
Here are a few more tips I have to offer:
- Make sure tries have good grips: Always best to have proper winter tires installed.
- Make sure you can see. Make sure blades, windows and headlights are properly functioning and clean.
- Run the air-conditioner. This removes condensation and frost from the interior of windows.
- Check your lights. Ensure they are clear of snow and working.
- Know how to use your brakes. If you find yourself sliding on ice,use your antilock brakes: Stomp, stay and steer. Stomp on the pedal . Stay with the pedal. Steer around the obstacle.
- If your car is not equipped with ABS, do not panic. Push the brake pedal hard until the wheels stop rolling, then immediately release the brake enough to allow the wheels to begin turning again. Repeat this sequence rapidly.
- Be careful. Look for “black ice. Touch your brakes regularly enough to test for black ice.
- Know the tough spots. Bridges and intersections are common places for ice to form.
- Too much steering is bad. In most cases, over steering will always make the situation worse. While it may be instinctive to steer away from the obstacle as hard as you can you may make things worse. If the icy conditions end and the front tires regain grip, your vehicle will go in whatever way the wheels are facing, which could be very dangerous (oncoming traffic , hydro poles or traffic).
All in all, common sense and good driving habits are what will help you the most. Sometimes, despite this accidents will happen as we cannot control everything around us. Please drive safely out there.
Head Injury in Sports
Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth
I receive calls regularly asking me questions about sporting injuries and does one have the right to sue. In every sport, there are injuries. While some injuries may be avoided in sports, others aren’t. Sporting injuries can happen anywhere; a friend’s house, school, gymnasiums, sport fields and sport training facilities. Football and hockey seem to be the sports with the highest rates of severe injuries that hear of due to the high impact and high number of head injuries associated with these 2 sports. Some sport head injuries become mild concussions and people are able to return to their sport within a few days or weeks. As we all know, there are also severe head, back, brain, neck and spinal cord injuries that result from sporting accidents. These injuries are life-altering and catastrophic injuries.
I’m often asked about compensation about such injuries. Not all cases of sporting injuries result in the right to sue and seek insurance compensation. In order to receive compensation, it needs to be proven that the facility where the injury took place provided unsafe, or dysfunctional equipment. If this is proven, then they can be help liable. It may be difficult to prove negligence , but with proper documentation, pictures and witnesses , a personal injury lawyer can help build a personal injury case to ensure you receive maximum compensation.
Consult a top Ottawa personal injury lawyer
If you have suffered a sports injury and feel it is a result of someone else’snegligence, contact an Ottawa personal injury lawyer for a free consultation. The top Ottawa personal injury lawyers will be able to provide you with immediate feedback on whether or not they think you have a personal injury case or not.
Play hard and play safe !
Ottawa Brain Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth…www.ottawainjury.ca . Brain injuries can happen in an instant and are life-altering. A brain injury is one of the most complex personal injuries as they are an “invisible” injury and impact not only the person with a brain injury, but their friends and family as well.
Brain injuries are not just a result of car accidents, they call also result from severe head blows, falls, trips or just about any activity where someone could hit their head.
Typical signs of a brain injury are :
Numbness , excessive drowsiness, severe headaches, arm or leg weakness, dizziness, loss of vision, slurred speech, loss of consciousness, nausea, or vomiting.
March is brain injury awareness month. Please support your local brain injury association.
— The Ottawa injury lawyer and accident blog is written regularly by Ottawa brain injury lawyer David Hollingsworth . Since 1999, David has been helping Ontario accident victims with brain injuries get the help and compensation they need. Living with a brain injury can be incredibly difficult and requires a lot of help, support and compensation. For more information on brain injuries and maximum compensation for brain injury injuries in Ontario, visit https://www.ottawainjury.ca/braininjuries.php